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February 13, 2018
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

You know that phrase you start to hear all the time on TV in the fall, something like "I'm Angus and I approve this message" or "This ad was paid for by Canines for a Better America?" The Federal Election Commission clarified in an opinion in December that such a disclaimer needs to be visible on ads on websites like Facebook too — only it doesn't seem like anyone is actually obeying. A ProPublica investigation found that of 300 political ads that have run on Facebook, fewer than 40 actually met the FEC's disclaimer laws.

Ads lacking the proper FEC language include ones paid for by the Democratic National Committee and President Trump's 2020 campaign. Fines for "knowing and willful" violations of the law can be over $1,000.

The regulations are under particular scrutiny now, as it has become increasingly clear that Russian agents used Facebook to promote their agenda during the 2016 election. "Foreign contributions to campaigns for U.S. federal office are illegal," ProPublica notes. "Online, advertisers can target ads to relatively small groups of people. Once the marketing campaign is over, the ads disappear. This makes it difficult for the public to scrutinize them."

The FEC's rules have changed as the nature of online advertising has, too. In 2011, when ads on Facebook were limited to small thumbnails and short text, the FEC agreed that the disclaimer could appear after clicking through the ad. "The functionality and capabilities of today's Facebook Video and Image ads can accommodate the information without the same constrictions imposed by the character-limited ads that Facebook presented to the Commission in 2011," the commission wrote in December.

Read more about the law, and who is and is not complying with it, at ProPublica. Jeva Lange

7:59 p.m. ET
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On Monday, a federal judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit adult film star Stormy Daniels filed against President Trump, and ordered her to pay his legal fees.

Daniels, who said she had sex with Trump in 2006, claimed that in 2011, after she agreed to discuss the affair in an interview, she was threatened by a man in a Las Vegas parking lot. Trump tweeted this was a "total con job," and she was "playing the Fake News Media for Fools."

Daniels sued, saying Trump suggested she was a liar, but Judge S. James Otero said Monday the tweet "constitutes 'rhetorical hyperbole' normally associated with politics and public discourse in the United States," and is protected by the First Amendment. Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, said he will appeal. Catherine Garcia

7:25 p.m. ET
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The Endeavor talent firm is in discussions to return a $400 million investment from the Saudi Arabian government's Public Investment Fund, two people with knowledge of the matter told NBC News on Monday.

The move comes after the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkey has told U.S. officials it has audio proof that he was murdered inside the consulate.

The Public Investment Fund agreed in March to buy a small stake in Endeavor. Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said on Monday the disappearance of Khashoggi was "upsetting" and he was "really concerned." If Endeavor does cut ties with Saudi Arabia, it would be one of the most visible moves by an American company to distance itself from the kingdom in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance. Catherine Garcia

6:37 p.m. ET
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Paul Allen, the philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, died Monday in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was 65.

In a statement, his sister, Jody, said Allen was "a remarkable individual on every level." Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Allen "created magical products, experiences, and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world." He founded Microsoft in 1975 with Bill Gates, and after leaving the company, founded Vulcan, Inc, which oversaw his philanthropic and business endeavors.

One of the world's wealthiest people, Allen's net worth was estimated at more than $20 billion. He owned the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks, plus had a stake in the Seattle Sounders soccer team. Allen was diagnosed nine years ago with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and announced earlier this month he had started treatment for it again. Catherine Garcia

5:57 p.m. ET

President Trump once said he'd pay $1 million to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) charity of choice if she proved she was "an Indian." In true Trumpian fashion, he's now negotiating the deal.

Trump has continually derided Warren for her assertion of Native American ancestry, suggesting it's untrue and dubbing her "Pocahontas" during rallies. So on Monday, Warren released a video challenging Trump's mockery and sharing DNA analysis that provided "strong evidence" that she has some Native American ancestry. Upon hearing the news, Trump declared that he never made a $1 million pledge, CNN reports.

Later in the day, Trump was more willing to play ball. He said Warren would have to win the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination to receive the cash. Warren hasn't said she's running for president, but pundits say she's a top contender. Trump also, somewhat disturbingly, said he would have to "test [Warren] personally" to seal the deal.

Trump isn't the only one who took issue with Warren's test results. The Cherokee Nation released a response to Warren's video on Monday, saying "using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong." Read the whole statement below. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:21 p.m. ET
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The Saudi government is planning to release a detailed report on missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, sources told CNN on Monday.

Saudi officials are reportedly planning to admit that Khashoggi was killed, after previously claiming they had no knowledge about the incident. Khashoggi arrived at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this month before he went missing. The Saudi government will reportedly say that Khashoggi died during an interrogation gone wrong and that there was an unauthorized operation conducted to abduct him from Turkey. Those involved in the operation will face repercussions, the report will likely say.

Information about the new report comes after President Trump said Saudi King Salman "strongly" denied having any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi during a private phone call. Trump seemed inclined to believe this, speculating that the reporter could have been killed by "rogue agents." Turkey previously told the United States it had evidence that a Saudi security team killed Khashoggi at the consulate and dismembered his body.

The Saudi report has not yet been released, and CNN's sources indicate that some details could still change. Brendan Morrow

4:07 p.m. ET

Stormy Daniels never wanted to become a feminist "hero," and that didn't change when she entered the national spotlight.

When Daniels confirmed the leaked story of her alleged affair with President Trump, she only "wanted to set the record straight and not be bullied," she told The Cut in an interview published Sunday. But now, Daniels, an adult film actress and director, says people think she's "in charge of saving the world," and it's become an "emotionally overwhelming" duty.

Before Daniels' revelation, she'd pack clubs with "middle-aged white guys [who] are usually Trump fans," she said. Today, they've been replaced with "large groups of women" who turn out in droves, often in matching T-shirts.

Still, Daniels doesn't see herself as "anybody's hero," The Cut writes. She doesn't want to be attached to the "#MeToo" movement, since she wasn't "forced" to do anything. Tying her to the movement just "takes power away from the people who've been assaulted or raped or [sexually] harassed by their boss," she explains. And she says she's "not a feminist," because she doesn't "necessarily try to help women."

In fact, Daniels actually "feel[s] sorry for men right now," she says, adding that "a guy can't even open a door for a lady without being called a pig." For those who don't like that, well, Daniels says she looks forward to their angry tweets — Twitter has been too "nice" lately. Read more of Daniels' interview at The Cut. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:16 p.m. ET

New Jersey Senate candidate Bob Hugin is bringing out the big, unsubstantiated guns in his narrowing race against Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.

In a dramatic ad released Monday, the GOP challenger singled out Menendez's call to "believe women" when they come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct. "What about the underage girls who accused you, according to the FBI?" the ad menacingly shoots back. What follows is a dive into one aspect of the FBI investigation into Menendez's corruption charges, which were ultimately dropped earlier this year.

The ad cites an FBI affidavit that says "for several years, Senator Menendez had been traveling to the Dominican Republican to engage in sexual activity with prostitutes, some of whom were minors." The affidavit quotes an email from an anonymous tipster, but doesn't provide substantiated evidence, as Hugin's ad implies. The FBI investigated those claims, but they were "never corroborated," reports Politico. Menendez has likewise denied the allegations.

Still, these allegations are treated as fact on a website run by the Hugin campaign. That is, until you scroll to the bottom of the site, where the Hugin campaign answers one big question: "Are you accusing Senator Menendez of having sex with underage girls?" "No," the campaign responded. "We are asking why Senator Menendez says all victims should be believed, but not his alleged victims?" One of the alleged victims, in this case, later said she was paid to lie about having sex with Menendez.

Hugin's ad comes on the heels of a poll showing him statistically tied with Menendez. Kathryn Krawczyk

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